Kim Wolfe, 43, did not enter a plea on murder, kidnapping and assault charges at her arraignment, which was held amid extraordinarily tight security in Nassau County District Court. Judge Terence P. Murphy ordered her to remain behind bars until her next court appearance on Monday and issued two orders of protection on behalf of the relatives of the two slain victims.
The Nassau County correction officer was arrested Wednesday. Hours earlier, her ex-girlfriend Stacie Williams, a 45-year-old maternity ward nurse's aide, was killed outside the East Meadow hospital where she worked. Police said Wolfe and Williams had met to discuss a possible reconciliation but that the conversation turned violent and Wolfe opened fire, shooting Williams several times.
Authorities say Wolfe then went to a relative's home about three miles away in Hempstead, where she killed her uncle, wounded her 88-year-old grandfather and took a 23-year-old niece hostage following a dispute over life insurance policies.
Wolfe began driving the niece toward Atlantic City, N.J., but made several phone calls back to the Hempstead home. During some of those calls, hostage negotiators persuaded her to return to the home, where she was arrested about 5:45 a.m. Her niece was released unharmed.
During the arraignment, which took less than three minutes, Wolfe was kept in a holding pen covered with frosted glass rather than being brought into the well of the courtroom where spectators could see her. The courtroom was ringed with more than a dozen court officers, including some who stood down the center aisle separating the families of the victims and Wolfe's relatives.
The only time Wolfe could be heard was when she answered "yes sir" to the judge's question of whether she understood the orders instructing her to have no contact with the victims' relatives.
A dozen or more of Williams' relatives were seated in the front row. Anthony Smalls, who said he was Williams' cousin, complained afterward about what he considered preferential treatment because Wolfe was a jail guard.
"It just wasn't handled properly," Smalls told reporters. "We heard a voice, but we never saw her."
Daniel Bagnuola, a spokesman for the Nassau County court system, said Wolfe was kept behind the glass for security reasons. He said such issues are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Fred Annibale, the attorney who represented Wolfe at the arraignment, rejected the notion his client received special accommodations.
"I think it was just a question that there were a lot of people in the courtroom and there's a lot of emotion here," Annibale said.
Wolfe was a 19-year veteran at the county jail, which is next to the Nassau University Medical Center, where Williams worked. She worked the midnight shift supervising inmates.
Because of her experience at the Nassau jail, the judge ordered that she be housed in the neighboring Suffolk County jail until her next court date. Annibale said that, too, was done as a security precaution.